Mike’s Mailbag: A Tribute To My Dad, Gord!

Goooood Morning Folks!

I’ll say it now… Best Mailbag of the year material this morning folks!

The reason I am especially pumped about this week’s Mailbag is because it is a tribute to my dad, better known as Gordo. He hit his milestone 65th birthday on Monday and it’s given me lots to think and reflect on. Tune in to the first video video link below which is a really cool insight into the work he has been pioneering in his field of reconstructive Plastic Surgery. I’ll preface the video with a few reflective thoughts…

What hit me this week is that my dad, like many father/son relationships, has had a huge impact on my life since day 1, but when I sit back and think about it, I really have never had any concept or idea of what his day to day to life is like as a doctor.

Last week, one of his residents dug up a YouTube clip of a feature that was done on Gord (and much to mine and sisters’ chigrin, a family bike ride we went on in the 90’s that was quite embarassing)! Point is, this really is the most introspective look I’ve ever had on someone who’s had such a big impact on me, yet professionally speaking, my dad’s career and mine could not be more different. As a kid growing up, when Gordo came home from work, he put his “dad” hat on and never talked much about the meaningful impact he was seemingly having on people’s lives. Now that I’m older (and a little more mature), I’ve put a lot more thought into the craft he’s honed and expertise developed he’s carving ears out out of patient’s rib cartillege who have lost one or both of them due to a bad accident, cancer, or having been born without one or both.

When you’re able to help someone while they’re at their most vulnerable, that is enormously powerful and the grounds for forming a very meaningful relationship. I’m just starting to realize how big of an impact he’s had on so many of his patients, both young and old, and yet he’s stayed as humble as the kid who grew up with three younger brothers on the streets of Meadowlark in west Edmonton.

Thanks dad for being such a great role model and teaching me many qualities that I hope to emulate in some fashion as I grow into my professional career, wherever that may lead…

  • As prefaced, here is the clip from the late 1990’s titled, “The Surgeons“, on Gord’s leadership of the Institute for Reconstructive Sciences (formerly COMPRU at the time) at the Misercordia Hospital in Edmonton. Very cool stuff…
  • A couple weeks ago, I wrote about a random guy, Tony Esteves, quest to meet one new person every day for an entire year. Well I’m very proud to now call Tony a friend, a chum, pal, compadre. We met last Friday night for what was supposed to be “a beer” which turned into many… Our conversation went in every direction and to great depths, which there’s nothing more I enjoy! For the record, I was day #220 on Tony’s calendar. Tony wrote about our initial encounter on his Talk2MorePeople page. In the last 7 days since meeting, we’ve broken bread at both of our Calgary dwellings and I attended my first ever “improv jam acting class” at Tony’s house (which totally scared the bejeebers out of me going into it. I’m trying to work on my creative expression which Tony graciously offered to help me out with). And he also virtually met with one of my best friend’s and loyal Mailbag reader in San Francisco, Chris Snoyer. Pretty solid first week of friendship if I say so myself! And it all started with a simple… conversation.

    If you’d like to meet Tony and be part of his Talk2MorePeople journey, I’d love to introduce you!

Song of the Week: Live in 1973, here is Chicago and their classic, “Saturday in the Park“. This one is for my dad, as Chicago is his all-time favorite band. The above photo is Gord and his cousin, Greg, on cloud-nine taking a photo with the entire band after their concert in Edmonton a couple weekends ago. They blend right in if you ask me!

Quote of the Week:I’m looking for what’s real. And when I find that, I take it right to the soul. I’m not a surface guy, I can’t stand living on the surface. I think that’s why people are so unfulfilled today. People text instead of communicate, people think their Facebook friends are their friends. Depth is what people are missing. I like taking people deep. That’s why people are so riveted because it’s so rare.” – Tony Robbins

Take Your Life To The House!



Mike’s Mailbag: Learning to Ride a Bike… Backwards!

Sorry folks, third time is a charm, right! I really don’t know what happened both times previously pressing “post”…

Have a great weekend!

  1. If you’re someone who appreciates genuine, thought-provoking content (I’m assuming that’s why you subscribe to this), as opposed to prescriptive lists that litter the Internet, my friend – Chris Ackroyd – just launched a new site for you called Life in Questions! I was super pumped to be one of the inaugural contributors to this community of open-minded, engaged thinkers and listeners. I’ve featured Chris’ awesome outlook on life many times in my Mailbag, including naming his article “Don’t Care About People. Care For People” as my #1 article of 2015!
  2. This is a really cool clip called “The Backwards Bicycle“… Definitely worth the watch about rewiring your brain!
  3. The third article of the week is by a university friend of mine, Chloe, who is an incredible writer and grammarian. This is not a new post of hers but one that stands the test of time. Do you know what an “ascended master” is? I didn’t either. But once Chloe introduced the concept to me in her writing, it really made me think and ponder if any have entered/exited my life in my 26 years of living… Perhaps next time you and I sit down for coffee or a beer, let’s exchange stories about whether we’ve encountered any “ascended masters” in our lifetime!
  4. How Wolves Change Rivers“… Very cool video. David Attenborough bringing it once again!
  5. I’m capping off this edition with a trio of awesome videos:
    • Nike “Unlimited Future” commercial – power to the babies!
    • Elite 11 Quarterback Camp – This football camp is all kinds of awesome. And it’s a sneak peak at the next Peyton Manning’s of the world when they’re only entering their senior year of high school. It’s comprised of the top 18 quarterback prospects in the country. Notable alumni include: Andrew Luck, Matthew Stafford, Teddy Bridgewater, Tim Tebow / Matt Leinart / Vince Young (questionable NFL players but college superstars).
    • One of the funniest interviews you’ll see all year… An 11 year old doesn’t hold back interviewing Rory McIlroy!

Song of the Week: We’re rolling back the clocks to 1968 with the band that made Janis Joplin famous – Big Brother & The Holding Company. Here they are with their classic hit, Piece of My Heart!

Quote of the Week: He who asks is a fool for five minutes, but he who does not ask remains a fool forever. – Chinese Proverb

Stay Humble But Hungry,


Mike’s Mailbag: COLD Shower Your Way to Success!

Happy Friday Friends,

What a day to be alive!! Remind yourself of that if you haven’t already today.

I’m feeling fresh and in turn, hope this week’s Mailbag puts a little flash in your Friday step. As you may have read in my LinkedIn piece last week, No Bullshit November: Breaking Through The Self-Narrative, November is a maintenance month for me. A month full of change. Breaking bad habits. Tweaking perspectives and attitudes towards food, drinking, physical fitness, the importance of sleep, all kinds of fun stuff. I’ll give you my three biggest wins thus far (currently on day 14, still a ways to go though):

  • Cold showers = DYNAMITE! Look, I like a warm shower when I wake up as much as anyone. But right before I get out, I crank the dial all the way right. At first, I could only tolerate about 8 – 10 seconds but I’ve worked my way up now to ~20 seconds under full tilt, glacier temp water! It’s not that the water starts to feel any warmer, it’s that when you change your perspective on the cold water rush that electrifies your body, it wakes you the hell up and gets you on your way to crushing the day. Not to mention, the physiological benefits of flushing your body, especially when fatigued from working out. Key takeaway: if you get the first uncomfortable act of your day out of the way by 7:00am, you are bound to have one helluva day!
  • The importance of acquiring the proper gear and training apparel. I went to the Running Room and got a fresh new pair of running shoes last weekend, fit specifically for my feet and walking/running style. I can’t tell you how big of a difference this has made for my running, tennis, and just as a casual shoe to wear around. Not to mention, a fresh new pair of Nikes always puts a little hop in your step! Key Takeaway: Utilize the available resources and technology that will protect your body during sport and day-to-day life.
  • Don’t take conventional thinking as scripture when reading about dieting, working out, and being healthy. Experiment for yourself and find out what works for your body. There are many independent thought leaders to be found out there on the Internet that each have pioneered their own innovative ways to take care of the human body. This takes some time, preparation, education and dedication, but it’s totally worth it when you find things that work and produce results. Key Takeaway: Conventional wisdom, in my opinion, is a dangerous road to go down in any aspect of life. Conventional wisdom = conventional results. Which in the case of physical fitness often means falling off the bandwagon 2 weeks into a health kick and subsequently, staying status quo.

Enough of my thoughts though, here are a couple of my favorite finds this week!

  1. Peter Thiel and Tim Ferriss – two very intelligent men talking for 20 minutes  on Tim’s podcast, The Tim Ferriss Show, (rated #1 business podcast on iTunes) about the world. Peter has a truly amazing mind, not to mention, his Bitcoin/Paypal comparison is brilliant. Worth every minute of your time and more…
  2. “The people in your life who truly matter will never admonish you for changing. Instead, they will build you up; they will inspire and motivate you. They will understand that you are striving to be more for yourself, and they will admire you for that; because at the end of the day, change is something you should never be ashamed of. You don’t owe anyone an apology for changing. You don’t owe anyone an apology for being different than you were a year ago, for wanting new things. Remember, growth is a direction, not a destination — so follow it ruthlessly; give yourself permission to be who you have always wanted to be.” –  http://selfactual.com/you-are-allowed-to-change/
  3. La Niña is bringing boat loads of snow this year and Sunshine Mountain Village opened up its doors yesterday. With that in mind, this is one of gnarliest edits I’ve ever seen, featuring skier Eric Hjorleifsen, on Ruin and Rose. Btw, zero apologies for use of the word, gnarly 🙂
  4. If anyone knows Tony Esteves in Calgary, I’d like to meet him and help him keep his streak alive for meeting one new person every day for over 210 days in a row. Kudos, Tony! This is an awesome initiative.

Song of the Week: We’re going with a triple threat of songs this week. This random trio has been circulating my Spotify playlists over the past couple weeks:

Quote of the Week: “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.” – Aristotle

Side note on this quote – we’ve all seen this quote a million times but I took a step back at the gym the other day (it was posted in large print on the wall) and started to think about it in depth. It is actually so damn true. Excellence really is about self-discipline and outlining “goal posts” to live your life within. I don’t mean in terms of setting limits on yourself or imposing something resembling a glass ceiling. I mean living by a set of values, committing to ethical practices personally and professionally, and implementing performance metrics to measure yourself by. If you live in this sort of manner, chances are you will inch your way closer to excellence, whatever that looks for you! I am by no means there but am on an enriching journey, inching my way closer towards what success looks like for me. I wish you nothing but the best in your endeavor towards what success looks like for you!

As Tony Robbins says, “make your lives a masterpiece, my dear friends!

Amen to That,


Mike’s Mailbag: If You Can’t Find a Nice Person. Be a Nice Person!

Good Morning Mis Amigos!

Let’s get our week started off inspired and on the right foot!

1. Jeff Weiner – CEO of LinkedIn

These two clips were home runs for me. Some great perspective that resonated on a few levels. While I am a fiercely independent person at this juncture, when I look at life in the grand scheme, what Jeff found is the ultimate.

2. Tim Ferriss – The Master of the Experiment

Whether you agree with Tim or not on his often unconventional views, he is a very interesting guy. I loved this interview he did at Google on “How to Cage the Monkey Mind” and thought you might enjoy it!

3. Motion vs. Action – James Clear

“Motion is when you’re busy doing something, but that task will never produce an outcome by itself. Action, on the other hand, is the type of behavior that will get you a result.”

This is an awesome read. Take action and read this article!

4. Conan O’Brian – Opening Monologue @ 2016 NFL Honors Awards

The whole monologue is funny but it gets really good around the 8:20 mark… He absolutely nails the player comparisons!

5. Planet Earth 2 – David Attenborough

Coming soon to our TV’s -> Holy smokes, this is going to be cool. Thank you, Sir David!

Song of the Week: This song of the week is throwing all kinds of Roberto Osuna-esque high heat… Turn it up -> “Reelin” by Iration. Or try a more chilled out live version in their Backyard Sessions

Quote of the Week: Success is achieving objectives we have established in advance. Anything else is by chance or serendipity… The most successful people live their lives on purpose. They don’t sit around waiting to see what might happen next.” – Tony Jeary

Go Jays!


Mike’s Mailbag: Don’t Forget to Dance!

Rise & Shine Muchachos,

Top shelf edition coming at yeeeee haaaa (surely some of you are Saving Silverman fans). Without further adieu, we’ve got some self improvement to do…

  • Alan Watts. The late, very wise British philosopher with some very real words in “Why Your Life Is Not a Journey“. Two specific pieces hit home for me:

Then one day you wake up one day when you’re 40 years old and say my god, I’ve arrived. I’m there. And yet, you don’t feel very different from what you’ve always felt.” – Alan Watts

It was a musical thing and you were supposed to sing or dance while the music was being played” – Alan Watts

Don’t forget to dance, my friends.

  • I don’t know who James Clear is or how I came across him, I really don’t. But I’ll say one thing, the man has some serious wisdom to share. I won’t steal his thunder though…

When talking about a certain Tour de France rider, “Brailsford believed in a concept that he referred to as the “aggregation of marginal gains.” He explained it as “the 1 percent margin for improvement in everything you do.” His belief was that if you improved every area related to cycling by just 1 percent, then those small gains would add up to remarkable improvement.” – James Clear

I love this concept. It very much echoes the words of the late personal development guru and philosopher, Jim Rohn, “Success is nothing more than a few simple disciplines, practiced every day.”

  • When you separate the identities of others from your own ego, you allow your insecurities to vanish.” – Patrick Wiltse (excerpt from his article Overcome Your Insecurities)

None of us are perfect, we all know that. But one of the lesser desired traits that lurks in the dark hollows of humanity is our mind’s temptation to compare ourselves to one another. Essentially, put our own strengths and weaknesses up against a friend / foe / colleague, mono a mono, which will inevitably end in jealousy, the projection of our insecurities and other lousy outcomes. Rather than benchmark ourselves against the best version of ourself, we have a bad tendency to look outside rather than within when it comes to evaluating personal and professional growth.

  • One of my biggest personal initiatives in 2016 has been instilling certain elements of structure into my life in the form of formal and informal mentorship, adding layers of accountability for goal setting, and putting together a team of people in my corner who care about my success as much as I do about theirs. I’ve had a few revelations as of late that these pillars and the foundation put in place are starting to pay dividends and allowing me to thrive and live instinctively. I hope to write in greater depth in 2017 about some of my experiences but I’ll give two examples in the professional sports world of  those”playing instinctively”. This cannot happen without a great deal of hard work put in up front in conjunction with a steadfast level of discipline. There is a reason that these gentlemen are in the top 5% of the world at their craft.

Song of the Week: “Walls” by Kings of Leon. KoL have been one of my top 5 bands on the planet since the very beginning but they certainly have not been immune to struggle. I think they’re poised for a big album… If this song is any indication, there is going to be a lot of raw emotion from all the internal turmoil the band has gone through over the past 5-6 years. I think a lot of that is just starting to unwind and will come to light in this album. The other single released is titled “Waste a Moment“. Both are great in their own regard.

Quote of the Week:Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that its stupid.” – Albert Einstein

Stay Humble & Hungry,


Mike’s Mailbag: Meet Bernard & The Next “KHL”

Top O’ The Morning Compadre,

Feels good, it’s Friday isn’t it? Check mate!

September is one of my favorite months of the year for many reasons but front and center is that it is a month that allows you to recalibrate your daily routine (from fitness to waking up early to eating healthier to fewer wobbly pops) and reassess your personal and professional/career goals. Whether it’s going into grade 1, freshman year, or strolling into the office, I always look forward to this month as it brings with it renewed vitality and clarity on your life’s ambitions if you take the time to reflect, recharge and re-instill the self-discipline required. For me, the self-discipline piece is key. It often tends to sway during the summer months and while it’s not easy to break bad habits, it just has to be done.

I’m off to hideout at the lake this weekend to chisel away at some personal initiatives I’m working on with the intention of finishing off 2016 strong. I hope you’re able to carve out some time this weekend to hone in on what you’re aiming for. I’d like nothing more than to see at the finish line!

  • Most people, including myself, thought the KHL is the Russian hockey league that any NHL player who breaches their contract opts to play in instead… Turns out, there’s another KHL and it’s in Kenya. Yes, in the heart of downtown Nairobi
  • Meet Bernard the Roughneck. He’s become quite the legend since he showed up in opposition to the Kinder Morgan protest in British Columbia. He’s provided a voice for many in the oil & gas industry in Western Canada. I won’t comment on Rebel Media’s “sponsorship” of sorts because it is evidently very biased and going down that road opens up an argument that is a whole other can of fish. However, I truly think Bernard means well and provides a perspective seemingly often forgotten by many Canadians in opposition to an industry that contributes a great deal to the Canadian economy (as presented in Canadian Parliament yesterday).
  • Fogo Island Inn in Newfoundland… Supposedly, the ultimate in East Coast Canadian luxury experiences. I have only ever heard of this gem in the press and elsewhere on the Internet. It looks absolutely amazing but I really don’t know much about it… That’s okay though as I have a great deal of work to do and money to save if I intend on staying there anytime soon (even if just for a night)! I’m curious though, has anyone stayed there or know much about this bucket list destination?
  • This is a pretty awesome looking all-in-one travel app from Google -> Google Trips Thanks to my pal in Toronto, Brett, for the heads up on this app!

Song of the Week: You’ve all heard Gravity by John Mayer but perhaps not this version…  And it is oh so smooth. Sit back and relax with Gravity, Live at the Nokia Theatre in 08′.

Quote of the Week: Never argue with an idiot. They will only bring you down to their level and beat you with experience.” – George Carlin

I guess I should mention I got my first ever hole in one last weekend!! Big shout-out to Sudsy, one of my playing partners and loyal Mailbag reader, for being such a beauty to golf with.

Have a Great Weekend,



Mike’s Mailbag: Back On The Horn!

Hi Friends,

It’s been a while, eh?

Truth is, I haven’t found the time to write for pleasure, in any shape or form. I have grappled with what to do with my Mailbag… Should I take it in a different direction and rebrand? Change up my distribution frequency? Kibosh it all together? All kinds of thoughts have come in one ear and out the other…

Then I thought, hold on two shakes of a lamb tail here, Michael… If you write your Mailbag for fun, not to mention there truly is no end goal or destination in mind for it, who really cares if you don’t publish one every single week? Or that it’s harder to find time to write being 100% dialed in to my new career path?

So here I am. Back on the horn. Hopefully with some interesting things to say…

I can’t guarantee that I will be able to write every week but I can guarantee you two things… When I do write, we’re going to have some fun with it. And secondly, I will likely challenge conventional wisdom more often than not which means sometimes (or maybe all the time) you won’t necessary agree with me. And that is A-okay! Call my BS if you think I’m blowing smoke. Seriously! There are few things I enjoy more than uncorking a bottle of red with a pal, diving a little deeper and exploring. Pints and coffee do the trick too.

God damn – feels good to be back in the saddle. Let’s do this.

  • Warren Buffett. The most logical investment mind the world has ever seen. It just so happens he’s shared his path to success in his own words. Side note: I am currently enrolled in the Dale Carnegie course. Three of eight sessions through the program and am really enjoying it. I don’t recommend it to business folk. I recommend it to EVERYONE. Mr. Carnegie’s curriculum transcends all industries and professions. It is about learning to communicate as human beings at the most fundamental level. Plain and simple.

Song of the Week: Like me, you’ve probably forgot how good this tune is. “I Wanna Make It Wit Chu” – Queens of the Stone Age. Live from the Desert Sessions in 2005. Your welcome🙂

Quote of the Week: “We do not rise to the level of our hopes. We fall to the level of our training.” – Archilochus

Keep on fighting the good fight.


Mike’s Mailbag: Annnnd We’re Back!

Top O’ The Morning Mis Amigos,

I hope summer is treating all of you well.

It’s been a bit of a battle to check in with y’all as my life seems to be moving at a million miles as I’m sure many of yours are. But let’s kick it for ol’ times sake…

  • While one can spend hundreds of thousands on university degrees and professional designations, it is important to realize how many awesome and free resources there are online. I came across a series called “30 Days of Genius“, a project spearheaded by Chase Jarvis -> a successful entrepreneur, artist, photographer and director. Basically, he interviews 30 of the most innovative and creative entrepreneurial minds on the planet and films each one. Then one video is e-mailed to your inbox every morning for a month. We’re talking big names: Seth Godin, Tim Ferriss, Brene Brown, James Altucher, the list goes on. The series is kicked off with Mark Cuban. If you yourself are an entrepreneur, definitely tune into the last 15 minutes of the first episode. Pretty thought provoking and contrarian advice.
  • Have you heard of the marketing genius, Seth Godin (I mentioned him above)? How about his concept of the The Gulf of Disapproval? I don’t think there is a better analogy as it relates to driving change in your corporate office or bringing a start-up to market. If you’re struggling to enact change in whatever role or mission you find yourself working on, remember to count on the blue line instead!
  • Words of wisdom courtesy of the YouTube channel Be Inspired… My favorite line from the video goes something like this “every morning when you wake up, you have a choice. Hit the snooze button and keep dreaming. Or get up and start turning your dreams into reality“. I hope you got up at the crack of dawn this morning, are reading this now, and absolutely crushing this fine Wednesday! And if you’re not, remember, it’s Hump Day, so have a laugh and hit the reset button.

In closing, the world lost a good man far too soon at the end of July in Bob Scott – a dear friend of the Wilkes family and many other families in Calgary and Edmonton. To many he was known as Wadd or Fun Bobby. There are funny people and then there was Wadd. He could light up any room with his wit and zest for people. My fondest memory of Bob was at my Grandpa’s memorial golf tournament – The RT Open – a couple years ago. Bob started a tradition called “Baskets by Wadd” where he would handcraft a gift basket full of god knows what and then present it to one lucky participant. Wadd would get up in front of all the guys and go through every item and why he chose it… Two years ago, his gift basket revolved around this hilarious informercial of an auto shop in Los Angeles, Arlen’s Transmission. Don’t ask me how Wadd found this clip as inspiration for his gift basket but it’s a memory that always brings a smile (and maybe a happy tear) to my face. I can vividly remember the stomach ache and tears streaming down my face from laughing so hard at this one basket in particular. We’ll miss you Wadd.

Song of the Week: We’re dedicating it to our friend and loyal Mailbag reader, Bob Scott. “Fire and Rain” – James Taylor.

Quote of the Week: “If you admire somebody you should go ahead and tell em’. People never get the flowers while they can still smell them.” – Kanye West

Thanks For Reading,